An imam, a reverend and two rabbis were among 400 people worldwide who joined an online cookalong with Maureen Lipman on Tuesday evening which was organised by Mitzvah Day.
From her Paddington kitchen, the actress took her audience through the preparation of a hearty bean and barley soup.
“I’m an improvisation cook and hopeless at following a recipe,” she confessed. “Just keep tasting.”
The idea was for participants to make something delicious and nutritious for a neighbour or friend in need as part of Mitzvah Day’s Every Mitzvah Matters campaign.
Ms Lipman cooked for Niku, a Romanian neighbour and the caretaker of a defunct local hostel. “I’m sure Niku will enjoy some home-cooked food made with love,” she said.
She also checked in with participants to find out what they were prepping in their own kitchens.
For Liberal rabbi Charley Baginsky and daughter Eliana, it was chicken soup. “We’re making it for a friend of ours who is busy looking after everyone on her street,” Rabbi Baginsky explained. “So we thought it would be really nice for her to have some Jewish penicillin and feel like she’s being looked after.”
Twelve-year-old Samuel Segal from East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue was one of many young chefs. He said “it felt good to make something for my grandma, who recently returned from hospital, as she likes to try my creations. The cookalong was so much fun and it was nice to meet a celebrity in a virtual way.”
Mitzvah Day founder and chair Laura Marks added that in a time of crisis, “people really want to give something back. Making a meal for somebody may not be world-changing but it makes a real difference to that person.”